Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Tape

Or, for the uninitiated: duct tape.  In my humble opinion, this lowly gray roll of tape is the second most important necessity to always have on hand; the first--as I've written about in a previous post--is bar none, a Leatherman tool.

As long as you have a roll (or ten) of this ingenious tape, there's nothing you can't fix--catastrophic flood under the kitchen sink, or that hole in the hose so you can get out of this effing desert to the nearest gas station.

My first experience with 100-mile-an-hour tape was in high school.  My boyfriend had a restored, beautiful blue GTO that he treasured beyond reason and was always tinkering with--more than he tinkered with me, if truth be known, but that's another story.  Anyway.  To spend more time with him, I had to hang out in the garage while he loved up his car.  I was the tool girl.  "Hand me the ratchet and the 5mm," he would order, his voice muffled into the black hole under the hood.  It didn't take me long to know what that meant, and not much longer to get under there with him just to see what was so interesting.

So, one Saturday afternoon, after a tune-up the car didn't need, we go out for a test drive.  We get out in the toolies, long stretch of road running to the horizon, and he stomps it.  The wind whips the hair around my face, stinging my cheeks in sharp little bites, the music is blasting from the radio, the engine roars in competition.  We look at each other, then start laughing like crazy people.   I don't know how fast we ended up going, but that car could haul ass and his foot was to the floor.  Pretty fast, then. It was wild, exhilarating, and totally scary.

Until the sudden plume of steam rolled through all the vents, filling the inside of the car, streaming over the windshield.  We pull off the road, he's swearing a blue streak, I'm wondering how we're going to get home; we're in the middle of nowhere.  He lifts the hood, roiling steam and heat pour out, but in short order he's determined a hose has come loose and the clamp is gone.  He tells me to get in the trunk and grab a roll of 100-mile-an-hour tape.  Blank look on my part.  "The silvery tape, couple rolls in there somewhere, just need one."

Sure enough.  And without exerting much effort at all, he took the roll I handed him, ripped off a length and had that hose securely reattached  in under a minute.  Big smile, close the hood, back in the car, and off we go.  I ask him about the tape; why it's called 100-mile-an-hour.  He floors it, we go flying down the highway, and he tells me that tape will hold even if you're doing 100 mph.  He was right.

I've used that tape for so many fixes.  I really did stop a flood under a kitchen sink, fixed a hose in the Mojave desert so I could limp my car into Barstow, California for repairs, wrapped it around my hand to clean up dog hair, covered rips and tears, plugged a hole in a raft...oh, the list goes on and on.  It's indispensable.  The astronauts even take it into space with them to fix things.

In yesterday's photo of my tattoo, if you look closely at my hand, you will see a slight shine of silver on my finger.  Well, maybe it's too small to see, so here, let me show you:

Remember the ripped fingernails after getting the desk into my mother's car on Saturday?  After struggling with numerous band-aids that kept falling off every time I washed my hands, I gave up and duct taped the rip in my nail.  I haven't had a single twinge since.  The tape is securely holding my nail in place so it won't rip deeper or snag on something, and no matter how often I get my hands wet, it hasn't shifted.

Not only do I have a roll of this tape in my junk drawer in the kitchen, I have a roll in the car, a roll in the toolbox in the garage, and a roll in the bathroom.  I'm not sure why I have the one in the bathroom, though it did come in handy when I needed a strip for my finger.

I also just read the other day that you can remove warts with this stuff.  Seriously.  I don't have any so I can't vouch for the validity of this claim, but considering the tape is good for just about everything, I'm not going to refute it either.  Apparently there's something in the tape that kills off whatever virus makes a wart.  Honestly, go figure, huh?

But you know what the best part is?  This is just so funny to me.  Duct tape can't be used to seal ducts..!!  And if that isn't the most ironic thing ever, I just don't know what is.


  1. I swear, I thought I was the only one who knew the duct tape paradox. Someone once told me duct tape was a manifestation of the Force; it has a light and dark side, and it binds the galaxy together.

    1. It's truly a paradox, isn't it? Why would it be called duct tape when it doesn't work on ducts? One of the great mysteries.

      This tape IS a Force to be reckoned with.

  2. The front end of our car is held together with bungee cords and duct tape. Lots of duct tape.


    Miracle stuff.


    1. Too funny! And yes, the stuff is miraculous.

      At school I had a $100 beater. There were no front seats, so I duct taped an apple crate to the floorboards, then a nice fluffy pillow on top of that. It worked just fine, thank you very much--though taking a corner too sharp gave me many an exciting moment.